It is Friday, so time for another gathering of the different pieces of video game news from the week, and there certainly has been some interesting and announcements. First though are the more time sensitive items, which would be some of the sales that are going on now. Steam and Humble Bundle are both holding their own Lunar New Year sales, but while Steam’s ends on February 15, Humble Bundle’s goes until February 18 as well as its Lovers x Fighters sale. Meanwhile GOG’s We Love Games Sale is going until February 17 and it also saw some games added to its catalog, such as the Commander Keen Complete Pack, which is 70% off at $1.49. Lastly there is the Epic Games Store Showcase Sale that is going until February 25. There were several announcements as part of Epic Game’s Spring Showcase that I will cover later. For now though, there are a host of games on sale across all kinds of genres, so if you are looking to expand your library, now might be a good time.
Coming to the other news this week, 2K shared news on the Director’s Cut DLC arriving for Borderlands 3 that will be releasing on March 18. Headlining the content it brings with it is Hemovorous the Invincible, a new raid boss that has been hidden behind a locked door since the game launched. There is also a series of murder mystery missions with new locations and a crime scene analysis mechanic. It appears Ava believes she has a lead on some slayings and has documented her findings as a serialized podcast, so you will be serving as the gun-toting co-host. The Director’s Cut will also provide you with three Vault Cards that you can level up by having the active while you completely daily and weekly challenges, with enough progress potentially unlocking a cache of themed cosmetics and powerful gear. The first Vault Card will arrive with the DLC while the other two will launch by the end of the year. They do not expire and you can select which you want active when you have multiple.
Borderlands 3 is also holding its Broken Hearts Day seasonal event for the second year now, adding floating hearts around lovesick enemies throughout the game. Breaking these hearts will help Maurice with his studies of human courting rituals. By destroying enough hearts, Maurice will send you various rewards, but when they fall to the ground they may produce an explosion, drop loot, give you health, turn enemies to allies temporarily, or spawn in more enemies to fight. Though rare, some hearts may spawn in ghosts from the Bloody Harvest event, allowing you to get some of the normally seasonal loot.
The Broken Hearts Day seasonal event goes until February 25.
CD Projekt Red shared earlier this week that its systems had suffered a targeted cyber-attack and while some devices were encrypted by the attackers, its backups were not impacted and so the company has been restoring them after securing its infrastructure. The attackers were able to collect data from CDPR, but the systems that were compromised did not include any personal information on players or users of their services. However, according to the ransom note the attackers left they were able to get the complete source code for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Gwent, and apparently an unreleased version of The Witcher 3. Though the threat was made the information would be leaked or sold if CDPR did not pay a ransom, the company stated in its announcement of this event that it will not give in to the demands or engage in negotiations. It appears the source code for Gwent has been released and we will have to see what more is leaked. CDPR has reached out to those who might be impacted by this breach and approached law enforcement and IT forensic specialists to investigate this.
Source: CD Projekt Red Twitter Account
Deep Silver and Clever Beans has shared the DLC roadmap for Gods Will Fall, which is to be released in Q2 and Q3 this year. This content will include a new level and god encounter as well as new gear, skills, and cosmetic items with the first two content drops including a new weapon class, each. The overworld will also receive some new features.
While this DLC content will arrive automatically for those with the Valiant Edition of the game, the game will also receive the Dolmen Depths level as a free update. With this you can enter a new procedurally generated dungeon and fight to recover a long-lost warrior to add to your party. It is expected to release in Q2.
Source: Press Release (Deep Silver)
Now we come to the announcements from the Epic Games Spring Showcase, with the highlight almost certainly being that the Kingdom Hearts series is coming to PC as an Epic Games Store exclusive. Specifically, it is Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 2.5 ReMIX, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue, Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind DLC, and Kingdom Hearts Melody of Memory that will be arriving on March 30. Though this is just four titles, some consist of multiple games bringing the total to eleven of the series adventures coming to PC, covering the entirety of “the Dark Seeker Saga.”
For those unfamiliar with the Kingdom Hearts franchise, it is an action-RPG series featuring some of the most popular characters from Disney and Pixar, as well as the Final Fantasy series. You can find out more from the appropriate source links below, including one for Square Enix, the franchise’s developer.
While that might be the most significant of the announcements, it was not the only one as Oddworld: Soulstorm was revealed and it too will be an Epic Games Store exclusive on PC, though also available on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. We can expect this action adventure platformer to launch this Spring, allowing players to once again help the reluctant Mudokon hear, Abe, as he leads a fight for freedom. Axiom Verge 2, Binary Smoke, and Chivalry II are other exclusives coming to the Epic Games Store, though only Chivalry II has a release date yet. That date is June 8, though there will be a closed beta from March 26 to 29.
Other announcements include that Magic: Legends, Core, and World of Warships will be arriving later this year. Magic: Legends will have an Open Beta starting on March 23. Core, arriving in Spring, will all you to experience thousands of Unreal Engine games, as well as to create and share your own, including shooters, action-adventure, RPGs, and platformers.
Something else that was also revealed at the Epic Games Spring Showcase was that King’s Bounty II, from Koch Media and 1C Entertainment, will be arriving on August 24. This does represent a significant delay from the original March target, but the team feels it is necessary to ensure it is the best experience possible. According to the press release, the content is complete and playable, but they want the additional time for playtesting, fixing, and polishing. It will be coming to PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Source: Press Release (Koch Media)
Override 2: Super Mech League from Modus Games has released an update that includes, for those with the ULTRAMAN DLC, Bemular. The game’s version is based on its appearance in the Netflix anime series and features a move set with powerful ranged attacks capable of threatening enemies throughout the arena. Bemular is the second of the four ULTRAMAN characters coming to the game as mechs, with Black King and Dan Moroboshi to arrive in the coming months.
For those without the DLC, this update includes balancing tweaks and the addition of two-player co-op matchmaking for Leagues and Quick Play modes.
Source: Modus Games (Override 2: Super Mech League)
Rebellion has shared the first gameplay footage for its upcoming Evil Genius 2: World Domination game, showing off ten minutes with commentary from Lead Designer Rich Edwards and Producer Ash Tregay. The video looks at the game’s tutorial to show case its base-building mechanics, how to create and develop your criminal networks, and some of the ways to stop enemy agents.
The developers have also shared the minimum and recommended specifications to play the game, which are relatively light.
|CPU (AMD)||Ryzen 5 1600|
|CPU (Intel)||Core i3-8100||Core i7-4770K|
|RAM||8 GB||8 GB|
|GPU (AMD)||RX 550||RX 5700|
|GPU (NVIDIA)||GT 1030||GTX 1660 Super|
|OS||Windows 10||Windows 10|
Evil Genius 2: World Domination is coming to Steam on March 30.
Source: Press Release (Rebellion) and Rebellion (System Requirements)
Fans of Red dead Redemption 2, in particular its soundtrack should be pleased to learn Rockstar has releases “The Music of Red Dead Redemption 2: The Housebuilding EP,” which does include “The Housebuilding Song” that has become a fan-favorite. The soundtrack is available to stream online but can also be purchased as a limited edition blue sky vinyl at Lakeshore Records and Rockstar Warehouse. The company also has 20 it will be giving away, with ten going to people to enter from the Social Club contest entry page and ten chosen from those who follow Rockstar Games on Twitter and retweet the entry tweet. The entry tweet will be shared later today and only entries received by February 13 will be accepted.
Square Enix has shared gameplay footage for NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139, which is a retelling of NieR Replicant coming to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. In this video we see the protagonist exploring the desert kingdom of Façade and investigating the Barren Temple. It is over nine minutes long and gives us a glimpse of the young protagonist with companions Kaine, a fierce warrior, and Grimoire Weiss, a magical tome. NieR Replicant ver.1.22474487139 is to release on April 23.
Source: Press Release (Square Enix)
Those looking forward to THQ Nordic’s SpellForce 3 Main Game Rework are going to have to wait a bit longer as the developers have announced it will not be releasing early this year. According to the statement, it is a very challenging project and unfortunately it cannot be done faster by adding to the team. The Grimlore Games and THQ Nordic Team feel it is best to be honest about the progress being made rather than raising hopes, and also do not want to share a release date. However, it does say in the statement it is a matter of months, not years to get this work done.
Source: THQ Nordic (SpellForce 3)
Also from THQ Nordic we have a new tournament and car pack for Wreckfest. The new track for the game is the Wrecknado with four loops to lead drivers into a vortex of destruction. This month’s tournament is to challenge the player to wreck as many AI cars on the track as possible. Along with that, Car Pack #9, also known as the Reckless Car Pack, has released this week as well, adding the Gorbie, Blade, and Stepvan. It is included as part of season Pass 2 but can be purchased separately for $3.99.
Source: THQ Nordic (Wreckfest)
Ubisoft has announced Anno 1800 Season 3, which will consist of three DLCs, Docklands, Tourist Season, and The High Life. The first of these, Docklands, is releasing later this month, on February 23 and it will allow players to create a modular warehouse district in their city. It will also enable a new way of trading, with players able to export goods to reinforce their economy. Captain Tobias Morris will serve as the link between players and companies across the world, making it possible for your to find interesting exports and become a market leader.
Tourist Season is schedule to launch in Spring and add things such as enriching activities, new dishes from their restaurants, and even tour bus networks. The High Life is to arrive in Summer and will teach players to manage cities full of skyscrapers as well as satisfying citizens with new goods and malls.
Besides the Season 3 Pass being available, Ubisoft has also announced the Gold Edition Year 3 and Complete Edition Year 3 versions of the game. Gold Edition Year 3 contains the main game, Deluxe pack, and Season 3 Pass while the Complete Edition Year 3 includes the game, Deluxe pack, and all three season passes. Alongside each of the three DLC there will also be free game updates, focused on improving the gaming experience.
Source: Ubisoft (Anno 1800)
Stepping a bit away from specifically game, we have some game technology news as the Unreal Engine marketplace now has an NVIDIA DLSS plugin. This plugin is fully integrated into the Unreal Editor UI and includes a Blueprint library for integration into the application logic. It requires version 4.26 of Unreal Engine 4 and that your project uses DirectX 11, DirectX 12, or Vulkan for the graphics API.
With this plugin now available to all UE4 developers, way may see DLSS’s use significantly increase in the future. The technology previously required special integration into a game, which is likely a significant reason why there are not too many games applying this trained neural network to upscale images. The idea is that with such advanced upscaling and enhancing, a game can be rendered at a lower resolution, which significantly reduces the work a GPU needs to do, thereby allowing for greater performance.
Lastly we have a new feature test arriving for 3DMark that covers a feature that could prove very valuable in future games. Feature tests are not meant for comparing performance like the actual benchmarks, but will provide performance numbers and allow developers and users alike to see the impact of new technologies, such as Variable Rate Shading. This new test focuses on the new mesh shader approach to graphics, which is essentially to replace the traditional graphics pipeline with something more flexible following a compute programming model. The traditional graphics pipeline consists of multiple steps that run in sequence and this can result in a performance bottleneck, especially with in-game objects being built from more complicated meshes, the set of vertices, edges, and faces that define an object’s shape. The mesh shaders concept does away with this rigid pipeline by effectively replacing the various distinct shader steps with mesh shaders that are more compute-like. Rather than having dedicated vertex shader, tessellation shader, and geometry shader steps, mesh shaders that replicate these same functions can be applied, or not applied as needed. Two reasons this can prove especially powerful are that mesh shaders can be run on sections of a mesh, meshlets, in parallel for greater performance and culling can be done earlier, to prevent resources from being spent on vertices that will not be visible in the final image.
In this feature test the scene is a hall containing multiple rows of detailed pillars, with those in the foreground blocking or occluding those behind them. As the camera moves, what is occluded changes. The test runs two passes with the first using traditional geometry culling to provide a performance baseline while the second demonstrates the effectiveness of the mesh shader approach for culling the occluded meshlets. There is also an interactive version of the test, to help demonstrate the impact of this application as well as the LOD for each meshlet.
The test uses DirectX 12, and with mesh shaders being among the DirectX 12 Ultimate list of features you will need Windows 10 version 2004 or newer to run the test, as well as a graphics card and drivers that support DX12 Ultimate. (Mesh shaders are not unique to DX12, though this test is only for that API.) The test is available as a free update for Advanced Edition users.